Even with GM Mitch Kupchak stating that the Hornets wouldn’t be building through free agency, I felt that a certain owner who will not be named would still be chomping at the bit to try and make a splash. With the Hornets being one of the few teams with max money this offseason and Brandon Ingram being from North Carolina, I thought the Hornets would look into trying to get him. At the beginning of the season, I was against this happening. In the preseason, BI seemed to be the same type of guy that couldn’t shoot from deep and didn’t make the best decisions. However, we’re almost halfway through the season and I’ve changed course. Ingram seems like a different guy and I think we should look into pursuing him this offseason.
Let’s just start with the basic counting stats. Brandon Ingram is averaging over 25 points a game, seven rebounds, and right around four assists. Those already look like star wing numbers. He’s not quite there yet but he just might be on his way. Coming into the league, BI was looked at as this star wing who could fill it up. While he has filled it up in his time in the league, his lack of a three point shot really held back his efficiency. This is why I had a lot of reservations about him as a player. All of the top guards & wings in the game are supremely efficient. They get to the rim well, they draw fouls, and they can bomb from deep. BI was always pretty good at the rim and utilized his length well there. The other two he wasn’t so good at. It seems like he has that now.
He’s shooting around six free throw attempts a game this year which is similar to last year but the big change is the efficiency. Last year, he shot 67.5% from the line. This year, he’s shooting 85.7% from the line. This boost makes him way more effective as a scorer. In addition, BI’s three point volume & efficiency has jumped as well. Last year, he shot just under two attempts a game from three and converted them at a 33% clip. This year, he’s shooting around six attempts a game and is converting them at a 41% a clip. That is a staggering jump. This has moved his TS% from around average at 55.5% to 60.6%. He is truly a lethal scorer.
Here all the guards & wings from the past two seasons that have played 30 minutes a game, had a TS% of 60 or above, & attempted 15 or more shots a game:
That’s truly elite company that Brandon Ingram is in right now. His scoring is his best skill and it’s a skill that the Hornets really need. Look at his bag:
BI has always had these midrange jumpers but the addition of his efficiency from the line and beyond the arc makes him a true bucket-getter and three level scorer. BI is shooting 67.1% from 0-3 feet, 48.5% from 10-16 feet, and 41% from behind the three point line. The guy just knows how to put the ball in the basket.
There’s still room for improvement too. His handle is too loose sometimes:
He could make some better decisions about when to drive & when to attack:
Imagine what he’ll look like in his prime when he tightens these things up. BI looks like he’ll be a lethal scorer for awhile.
The thing that does differentiate BI from wing types say like Jaylen Brown on the offensive end is that he has really good feel for the game. BI is a really good passer for a wing and it was one of his best traits while he was on the Lakers. That with his scoring can make him lethal. Look at these reads:
The first one is my favorite one and really shows flashes of advanced feel. He manipulates the defense with his eyes and moves the defender to get the easy shot for Favors. BI has legit passing feel (19.3 AST%) which bodes well for him as a + creator down the line.
BI’s not perfect but he has the indicators to be one of the top offensive players in the league one he hits his prime. He’s a terrific isolation player and is in the 81st percentile in those situations (1.06 PPP, 3.8 possession a game), he can handle the rock in P&R (77th percentile as P&R ball-handler), and he can spot-up for others (81st percentile, 58.6 eFG%). If he can keep this up, he’s going to be a terrifying offensive player in the years to come.
Ingram also has some value on the defensive end. He has gotten stronger but he’s still thin which hurts him on that end sometimes and he does seem to get blown by every now and then:
These two blow bys stem from some bad technique from Ingram. However, Ingram’s length is a legit deterrent and helps him even when a player gets by him:
His length is legit functional and it causes troubles for players:
He also isn’t a low IQ player and makes some good rotations sometimes:
BI averages about a block and a steal a game. His block percentage is actually pretty good but ideally, you’d probably want him to get some more steals. He doesn’t always consistently blow-up plays so I wouldn’t call him a truly impactful defender. However, his length is a deterrent and he’s a smart guy which I think makes him a potential positive on that end.
To sum it all up, Brandon Ingram is a lethal scoring wing with real passing chops and average to above average defense. That’s a really good player that has the outlines of all-star impact when he hits his prime. It’s also something that the Hornets really don’t have on the wing right now. He’d be a nice fit with Devonte’ Graham and would be able to take the burden off of him on the offensive end. He’d give the Hornets an efficient volume scoring wing which we haven’t had in a long time if ever.
BI isn’t giving max impact right now so giving him the max this offseason would be a definite overpay. In addition, there are only about 40 games of evidence of showing that BI is this type of player. So this isn’t a clear open and shut case. However, being the Charlotte Hornets, this is the type of overpay that you have to make sometimes to get special talent. Also, this is the type of player you max. A young guy (BI is only 22) that has a lot of talent and looks to be on a clear growth curve to becoming a star. If I was the Hornets, I’d take the chance. With a lottery pick on the way, the Hornets would look to have a bright future. A core of Devonte’ Graham, Killian Hayes/Tyrese Maxey, Brandon Ingram, and PJ Washington would be terrific. BI is defintely a guy to keep your eye on this year. I mean look at this:
I’m not saying BI will ever be Kevin Durant or anything (can pretty confidently say that he will never be KD) but it is encouraging to see graphics like this to showcase his good play. Make that move @MJ.